Speed Dating The Airlines: Our Recent Trip To San Antonio

Recently, Teresa Damiano and I traveled to San Antonio, Texas to talk to representatives from various airlines about improving air service to RDU and our region. (Did your ears just perk up? Well, be forewarned that I’m not sharing specifics.) The event was called Network 2013, and it brought together airlines and airports from around the world for face-to-face meetings.

Network conferences are one of several types of airline-airport meetings that can be equated to speed dating. Here’s how it works. Airports and airlines are paired together by a third party for a set number of meetings. Generally, the airports ask to speak with certain airlines, but it could happen the other way around. Each meeting lasts exactly 30 minutes.

While you don’t get a long time to meet, you do get valuable face-to-face interaction with airline route planning decision-makers. For us, it’s an opportunity to showcase our region and airport, as well as demonstrate the demand and business case for improved air service.

Bringing new air service to RDU is one of the airport's top goals and "speed dating" events with airlines are one way to help.

Bringing new air service to RDU is one of the airport’s top goals and “speed dating” events with airlines are one way to help.

One of the greatest benefits to these types of conferences is that they provide the opportunity to meet with a variety of airlines without extensive traveling, saving both time and money. At this two-day event, we met with nine airlines, which isn’t bad for two days of work.

At these events, airlines and airports cover a spectrum of issues. So you may talk about tweaking existing flight offerings, whether it be times, equipment size or type, onboard amenities such as Wi-Fi or reliability. Other times, it’s an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with the airlines and just check in to see how routes are doing.  And others, of course, are about new cities or additional flights.

Besides the formal 30 minute time blocks, the conference allowed plenty of informal connection times with  airline executives and other airports. Keep in mind that RDU competes with all the other airports in the United States, and it’s always good to keep up with what the competition is doing.

Rest assured, we’re working to bring you the best air service opportunities for our region that we can. Tell me what improvements you’d like to see in the comments below.

About Dave Young

Dave Young is the Director of Air Service Development for RDU. In this capacity Dave acts as the advocate for RDU to the airline industry, promoting the benefits of RDU and the region. As a self-proclaimed “airline guy” Dave has a habit of referring to things in 3 letter codes.
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4 Responses to Speed Dating The Airlines: Our Recent Trip To San Antonio

  1. Bob H. says:

    Thanks for sharing insight into this process. Very interesting.

  2. Sunil says:

    I think an addition of a direct flight to another European or Middle-Eastern hub would greatly improve overall flight connectivity to RDU besides providing more choices to the passengers and reducing travel times

  3. Ashutosh Chilkoti says:

    Echo the thought above–another direct flight to Europe, Delta to CDG?

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